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Old 01-07-2013, 05:20 AM   #1
mrjofus1959
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Default Copper-in-PVC Counterflow Chiller

This one is based on a couple of the all copper straight run versions I've seen online, only this one uses PVC and copper. The wort flows through 1/2" rigid copper pipe with 1/2" ID silicone tubing for the loop backs. The water flows through 1" PVC pipe and fittings. The ends of the PVC tees have 1/2" FPT x 1" PVC fittings, with the copper sanded and then centered with o-rings pushed all the way in, and then glued in place with JB Weld. Why the o-rings? I wanted to try and keep the copper from physically touching the PVC to minimize heat transfer from the copper to the PVC at the beginning of the cooling. Not shown are the camlock fittings for the wort in and out that are removable and held in place with silicone tubing and hose clamps during use. This allows those pieces to be boiled if desired for cleaning, with the rest of the copper cleaned with PBW pumped through.

This cost around $60 to build, and yields about 18 feet of counterflow contact. It will sit just until the top surface of my brew stand with the fittings end located on the same end as my BK. Note I have electric brewing setup, and I'll be whirl-pooling by pumping through the CFC and back to the BK.

I tested the setup today using water only, and here are my results...

CFC Results with ~47 F water, with 12+ gal of 200 F water to start

150 F at 2:25
125 F at 4:30
100 F at 7:20
90 F at 9:00
80 F at 11:05
75 F at 12:25
70 F at 14:03
65 F at 15:48
60 F at 18:18
At 20:00 - 58 F

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Old 01-07-2013, 07:48 PM   #2
Junkster
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I made something similar for my old rig and had it mounted on the rear of the stand. It was a gravity feed arrangement, all copper with 5 modules with about 3' of cooling length on each. It worked, but in the summer when my cooling water was warmer I ended up supplementing 10 gallon boils with a small immersion coil to assist. I had a dial thermometer at the wort output and a ball valve to adjust the wort flow into the fermenter to maintain the desired temperature. I was a bit disappointed with the overall performance with mine, but it was an interesting build. I think mine would have worked ok with 2 or 3 more cooling modules, but the mounting method on my frame would not work out.....


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Old 01-07-2013, 09:32 PM   #3
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Our groundwater temps here in Fort Collins, CO stay pretty cold in the summertime so I'm hoping I'll get good results then too. But just in case I need more cooling I left the water outlet extra long so that I could add on a more modules (thanks for that - I like that description!). I think I can fit 2 more on the one plane under my bench top, but worst case I could double back and have a second layer underneath. Kind of like this setup:

http://www.capandhare.com/forums/album.php?albumid=32
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjofus1959 View Post
Our groundwater temps here in Fort Collins, CO stay pretty cold in the summertime so I'm hoping I'll get good results then too. But just in case I need more cooling I left the water outlet extra long so that I could add on a more modules (thanks for that - I like that description!). I think I can fit 2 more on the one plane under my bench top, but worst case I could double back and have a second layer underneath. Kind of like this setup:

http://www.capandhare.com/forums/album.php?albumid=32
Hello fellow foco brewer! That thing is cool but it seems huge! It must be cheaper than just fishing copper through a garden hose, but jeesh.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:03 AM   #5
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Huge it is at over 5' long, but it'll be tucked away under the top of my brew stand...

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That old workbench is 6' long so the CFC will almost be hidden!
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:04 PM   #6
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I like the strut framing on the back!
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:56 PM   #7
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Are all the tee's open to one another? You may be short circuiting water if they are open as the water will take the path of least resistance and flow from in to out through the tee's closest to the connection end rather than going down the length of the chiller.

Nice work though.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WPStrassburg
Are all the tee's open to one another? You may be short circuiting water if they are open as the water will take the path of least resistance and flow from in to out through the tee's closest to the connection end rather than going down the length of the chiller.

Nice work though.
Thanks, and no they're not. Hard to tell from the pics maybe, but there are 3 pairs in there with each tee ripped in half on my table saw. They're just snapped on to the pipe to add some structural support.
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
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I like the strut framing on the back!
Thanks. Functional too once I add hooks, etc for hanging kettle lids and such.
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Old 06-11-2014, 05:06 PM   #10
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Awesome build, I dig it! I really want to put something like this together - just a bit smaller so I can mount it under the counter where I brew. I'm currently using a copper-inside-hose chiller which is too bulky and overkill for what I'm doing.

Sorry to revive such an old thread but do you have any feedback on the longevity of this build? How are the JB-Welded parts doing? Any cracks/leaks/everything's still perfect?


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